The global pandemic has churned up a new breed of a camper. Those who previously preferred to travel by air or sea to distant destinations are now setting their sights on the ground and have discovered camping. But what about the gear you need? We talked to Rob Birrell, Vango’s Marketing Director, about getting the right camping equipment for your camping adventure.
Luxurious Magazine: We understand genuine outdoor enthusiasts design all your products. Why is this important?
Rob Birrell: Yes! Our team are all passionate about the great outdoors and ranges from Scout leaders to mountaineers, skiers and long-distance cyclists! It means all aspects of the design process – from idea generation to concept to finished gear – are built on a genuine understanding of camping and love for the great outdoors. In addition, we have a great pool of brand ambassadors who put our kit through its paces during our testing ahead of launch.
LM: The company once sent a tent into space. Can you tell us a bit about that, please?
Rob: For us, it’s always been about innovation, which underpins everything we do as a brand. When we developed AirBeam, we wanted to put the beams to the ultimate test and find a unique way to introduce the technology! So, in 2012 we decided to launch a tent to 104,000ft (three times the height of Everest) into space!
The tent was launched using a weather balloon near Oban in the Scottish Highlands and successfully returned to the ground just 10km from take-off! Our Vangonauts celebrated a true first for camping innovation and adventuring!
LM: In a throwaway culture for too many years, a lot of people have been thinking about recycling. Tell us about the recycling service you offer?
Rob: For several years, we’ve focused on sustainability, most recently launching our Earth Collection of tents, sleeping bags, chairs and backpacks, all constructed from recycled single-use plastics. Prior to that, our Camping Recycled platform has been around for almost ten years, where you can purchase a pre-loved tent which has been restored to near-new condition by one of our highly skilled tent technicians.
We also offer a Spares & Repairs Service, which allows any Vango customer to return their tent for repair or purchase replacement parts. With these initiatives in place, we hope to help protect the outdoors for future generations whilst reducing waste at landfill sites every year.
LM: What is the Spirit of Adventure campaign?
Rob: We recently launched our first television advert, which showcases Vango’s heritage story from 1966 to the present day. The video shows a young girl camping with her grandfather in an original Vango Force Ten canvas tent, which ignites her love for camping and continues throughout her life to the present day when she introduces her young family to camping. The sentiment of the campaign is that you can make a lifetime of memories through camping, and we aim to inspire the spirit of adventure in everyone!
LM: What advice would you give people new to camping, and who would like to venture out?
Rob: Blogs and YouTube videos are a great place to start; we have a blog on our website that offers advice on everything from wild camping spots to top tips for glamping adventures! Outdoor shops are also a great place to get face-to-face advice about which kit might work best for your camping adventures; we have retailers up and down the country who are trained experts on Vango products!
We’ve also recently launched on the Tik Tok platform to gain insights into camping/hiking tips and tricks in small bite-sized chunks.
LM: Have you found there’s been an increase in people wanting to camp since lockdown due to the popularity of staycations?
Rob: The last two years have seen unprecedented participation in outdoor activities – from camping to day trips! At the height of travel restrictions, it was incredible to see so many people discover the great outdoors for the first time and the adventure which can be had locally.
This has been fantastic, but we’ve also seen an increase in the amount of litter and waste accumulating in many camping spots; as a result, some excellent campaigns are raising awareness of this problem and making a difference which we enthusiastically support across our social platforms.
LM: How can we all collectively look after our climate and surroundings when we go out in the great outdoors?
Rob: Acting responsibly whilst out enjoying the great outdoors is as important, if not more important, than enjoying the outdoors itself! There are simple rules you should follow, such as leaving no trace, as well as a number of other practices you should follow when out exploring in nature.
Our partners at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and Visit Scotland offer some great tips on how to explore responsibly. You can check out some information here: www.visitscotland.com/about/responsible-tourism.
Vango – Where and How?
For more information on Vango and to see its full range of products, visit www.vango.co.uk.
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